By Robbie Merritt
Photography by Jessamyn Martin, Sam Ogden
METAvivor, a non-profit organization that funds important research for stage IV metastatic breast cancer (MBC), has awarded research grants totaling $700,000 to three Dana-Farber faculty members: Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH; Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD; and Sara Tolaney, MD, MPH.
The volunteer-led organization is dedicated to supporting MBC research that shows distinct promise in making a difference for the stage IV breast cancer community. Freedman, Polyak, and Tolaney all were chosen because of their cutting-edge work within this space.
“METAvivor’s research grant program involves a very rigorous patient and peer-review process. When we select awardees, we are selecting the best research nationally, funded by dollars raised locally,” says METAvivor President Jamil Rivers. “We are thrilled to have funded Dana-Farber investigators and look forward to continued positive research outcomes.”
Bolstered by a grant from METAvivor, Polyak will explore causes of therapeutic resistance and extensive metastasis in triple-negative breast cancer. Tolaney and her team will study the efficacy of a new therapeutic combination for metastatic hormone receptor-positive breast cancer treatment aimed at better activating immune cells to destroy cancer cells. And Freedman’s LIFT UP study aims to address disparities in the care of MBC patients by understanding and alleviating the burden of those at highest risk for poor outcomes due to emotional, physical, and financial challenges.
“With this two-year grant from METAvivor, we are now systematically screening for resource, language, and emotional support needs and connecting patients to resources and support services,” says Freedman. “This aims to lessen the many challenges our patients face so they can instead focus on their treatment, quality of life, and survivorship. METAvivor’s funding is critical to making this vision a reality, and I am grateful for their commitment to this important work.”